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View Diary: Can you work against the social safety net and still call yourself a Democrat? (173 comments)

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  •  Was reading the latest CBO analysis of the (2+ / 0-)
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    joe shikspack, Cedwyn

    Social Security Trustee report and a couple things came to mind.

    Obviously, Social Security is not going to disappear. However, as Cedwyn noted, it will start to run short on funds in 2037. The issue is how to prevent that from occurring.  

    On August 5, the Social Security Board of Trustees issued the 70th annual report on the program’s financial and actuarial status. [1] The trustees’ report shows some mild deterioration in the program’s short-term outlook — a finding that was widely expected — and a mild improvement in its long-run finances, thanks largely to the recent enactment of health reform.

    Several key points emerge from the new report:

        The trustees continue to estimate that the trust funds will be exhausted in 2037— the same date that they forecast in last year’s report.
        Even after 2037, Social Security could pay more than three-fourths of scheduled benefits using its annual tax income. Those who fear that Social Security won’t be around when today’s young workers retire misunderstand the trustees’ projections.
        The program’s shortfall is relatively modest, amounting to 0.7 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next 75 years (and 1.4 percent of GDP in 2084). A mix of tax increases and benefit modifications — carefully crafted to shield recipients of limited means, potentially make benefits more adequate for the neediest beneficiaries, and give ample notice to all participants — could put the program on a sound footing indefinitely.
        The 75-year Social Security shortfall is about the same size as the cost, over that period, of extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans (those with incomes above $250,000 a year). Members of Congress cannot simultaneously claim that the tax cuts for people at the top are affordable while the Social Security shortfall constitutes a dire fiscal threat.
        Preserving and building upon the cost-control measures enacted in the health reform law will be important not only to Medicare, but — to a lesser degree — to Social Security as well.

    I think you and Cedwyn were both bringing up aspects of the issue that need to be discussed. She was correct in saying that funding for SS was going to drop if nothing changes.

    The article in Forbes laid out one possible option that could prevent a decrease in funding for Social Security.

    There are others or course, raising taxes, eliminated tax breaks for off shoring jobs, big oil, etc, all of which we have to get through a Republican House.

    That is why I think we need to be pushing back hard for stimulus spending, aka, grow the damn economy, etc, NOW, before we get to the sequester, and debt ceiling nonsense.

    Everything, job creation or lack there of, livable wages, eliminated tax breaks, etc, will affect the future of Social Security, along with everything else.

    Was just reading a commentary at the Office on Budget and Policy Priorities on the so called Fiscal Cliff deal, etc, and it is alarming.

    Granted it is one view point, but even so.


    Commentary: Next Round on the Deficit
    Big Dangers Ahead for the Economy, the Budget, and Low-Income People

    By Robert Greenstein

    January 7, 2013

    In recent days, policymakers, pundits, and the media have debated whether the “fiscal cliff” budget deal was a victory or defeat for the President or congressional Republicans, progressives or conservatives, rich or poor, the economy or the deficit — you name it.  Most of the commentary is unpersuasive, however, for one basic reason:  the fiscal cliff deal is only one stage in a broader budget battle, and you can’t render a legitimate judgment on that effort until the next stage — which includes the scheduled across-the-board spending cuts known as “sequestration” and, especially, the need to raise the debt limit — is completed.

    What’s important at this point is not assessing winners or losers but, instead, understanding what lies ahead.  That’s because what lies ahead is truly frightening.  Indeed, it could (though it doesn’t have to) produce outcomes that are far more damaging to the economy, sound fiscal policy, and low-income and vulnerable Americans than anything that policymakers and experts feared from the fiscal cliff.

    So, let’s look ahead to the next 60 days and their potentially monumental ramifications for our country, our economy, and our people.

    This of course ties in with our conversation on the future of Social Security, so I thought you'd find it interesting.

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:12:31 PM PST

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    •  sure it's interesting... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, triv33, Onomastic

      but projections that far out are based upon assumptions that will invariably be incorrect.  the trustees assumptions are based upon a no growth scenario.  there are a lot of variables out there, growth, inflation, unemployment, wage growth or compression among them.  it's a fair bet that the projections are horribly wrong, because the chances of nothing changing over the next few decades is slim to none.

      i think that the best, easiest fix, is to make a legal arrangement that no matter how unequal income becomes, 90% of income is subject to the fica taxes which will virtually  guarantee that the system can pay out as it goes barring a complete economic collapse or an economic contraction just short of said collapse. (which of course i wouldn't entirely rule out, but in that case there will have to be enormous adjustments made to everything and all bets are off.)

      i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

      by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 12:23:36 PM PST

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      •  Yes, the CBO projections are based upon current (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe shikspack, Cedwyn

        conditions and subject to change as conditions change.

        But I don't see how that means that their projections shouldn't be a factor in discussions about Social Security.

        If that's the rule than we wouldn't have anything to discuss on the site, given that things are changing all the time.

        I'd like a good conversation about what can be done to change course to prevent what the Trustee Report outlines.

        It would be nice to take proactive action for once instead of knee jerk reaction.

        Hope you  write a diary on the legal argument for increasing FICA to 90% of income.

        "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

        by Onomastic on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 01:49:39 PM PST

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        •  i'm not saying that we should ignore them... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Onomastic, aliasalias, triv33, allenjo

          but there is a certain perspective that one should view them with.  when people say with certainty that the trust fund is going to run out on a tuesday at 8:13am in October 2031, there is a problem.  (either that or they are better than nostradamus)

          i tire of people making those pronouncements in high dudgeon and expecting me to take them seriously.

          yes, certainly there will need to be some adjustments made in the future, but, there is no need to worry about them today and certainly not in the context of the federal deficit or the entirely made up fiscal "crisis" that the politicians are on about.

          i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

          by joe shikspack on Tue Jan 08, 2013 at 02:13:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes, things do change (1+ / 0-)
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            and the SS trustees do revise their projections from time to time.  

            the last two updates/revisions have pushed the securities depletion date ahead by a total of 6 years or so.

            Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

            by Cedwyn on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 05:18:24 AM PST

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          •  Oh, I don't think Social Security should be part (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe shikspack

            of this self created "crises" either.

            But it is.

            So how do we push back against MSM and Republican BS?

            They're the ones spinning this crap for all they're worth.

            I'd think that repeatedly pointing out how wage stagnation/income inequality/tax breaks for big oil, off shore tax havens, etc, have created all of this - the deficit, Social Security short fall, the economy crashing, - would resonate hugely with most Americans.

            It's all part of the whole. At least that's the way I see it.

            "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

            by Onomastic on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:29:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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